Bingo for gaming industry director
Yolande Manuel, who opened the Boss Gaming Group’s Bingo outlet in Cleary Park, is ‘living the dream’ that hard work has brought to her life
Empowering staff members to envision their own potential for growth is fundamental to the Boss Gaming Group’s business model to ensure superior levels of customer satisfaction and company growth.
Director Yolande Manuel said the business model was also founded on the values of family-oriented support, ethical workmanship and team work.
Can you give some background on yourself and how and when you started the business?
I was born, bred and educated in Port Elizabeth.
After completing my secondary education, I accepted an opportunity to work in the Kenyan gaming and hospitality industry.
After an eight-year stint developing my skills, I decided to return to SA in 2011 to further advance my opportunities and management skills.
I took up a position with, at the time, a start-up gaming group called Boss Gaming, and under their guidance and support, anchored their first limited payout machines operation in Matatiele.
Twelve months later, my services were required to assist in the opening of their second branch in Mthatha.
I continued to develop my management skills and two years later, in 2014, the group proposed that I join the directors’ table, and an opportunity to open their Bingo outlet in Cleary Park, Port Elizabeth.
Since then, the group has opened additional Bingo branches, expanded their limited payout machines operations and now sits beneath the Gold Rush holding group.
I am , “living the dream” that hard work, dedication and commitment has brought to my life.
How was business the idea born?
The Boss Gaming Group idea was conceived by the visionary David Winter and entrepreneur Greg Sutherland, David being responsible for the development and growth of the business and Greg on licencing and administration.
What do you think makes your business unique?
It’s a combination of a cuttingedge design, combined with an equally exciting atmosphere that is supported by our commitment to customer service, with great products and fresh, cutting-edge marketing.
If someone wanted to use one key lesson from your business model, what would it be?
Accessibility for junior staff to come and discuss any issues that they have with senior management and directors.
Supporting an “ownership” ethic and a family-orientated approach to the business.
What are some of the biggest inhibitors your business faced before getting off the ground?
Our approach has always been to make the impossible, possible.
Inhibitors are the extra set of brakes we don’t need, so our collective effort and multi-tasking mentality has usually overcome any potential issues.
Having the correct skills set helps avoid inhibition.
What are some of your biggest challenges in day-to-day business operations and your particular industry?
An inconsistent economy certainly leads the challenges and this adds to the internal impact we have regarding our revenue.
We also have to consider the growth of the industry and the competitive nature it creates.
Another major concern is finding a happy balance between our employees and the consistency a group needs to remain competitive – procedural executions being paramount.
What is the best advice anyone gave you about success?
Trust yourself and your decisions.
Believe in these decisions, surround yourself with positive, professional people who are successful and work “clever”.
It certainly helps if you love what you do.
How do you measure or define success in your business?
Lead by example, maintain flexibility and encourage teamwork.
Profit is always the diamond in the tiara but none of this is achievable if your team doesn’t buy into the success of a business.
Content employees, consistency and teamwork – these qualities were rewarded in 2019, when the Bingo Royale teams were crowned “Best Bingo Brand” in South Africa for the 2018/19 year.
What are some of the best practices that have made your business successful?
Choosing the right locations, candidates for the job, maintaining a well-trained work force, providing a consistent service and always putting our customers first.
What kind of advertising do you do?
We have an entirely independent in-house marketing department that takes care of all our branding.
The most prominent type of advertising we focus on is our social networking content.
We use Facebook, Instagram and SMS for strategic, static material placements.
What have some of your highlights been in running your business?
Having the opportunity to create job opportunities for the community and immersing ourselves in community support initiatives and associated projects.
It certainly feels good seeing our staff and customers happy and enjoying the venues.
How many people do you employ?
Our current employee head count is sitting at 420.
Cleary Park has 65.
How do you motivate staff?
We ensure that staff are given every opportunity to progress and gain skills by sending them for training.
We promote from within. We have staff members who started as cleaners and now are managers.
We have an employee of the month who is given a reward. We have regular staff meetings, and secure and well-maintained work areas.
How did you acquire funding for the business?
We had investors who funded the business.
Once you had funding, what was the first step in actually launching the business?
Firstly, we applied and competed for a license at the Eastern Cape Gaming Board.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from your business journey so far?
One can’t rest on yesterday’s laurels and achievements.
Competition is fierce, so focus and remain flexible and responsive to detail – this is paramount and the biggest lesson I have learnt.
What are the greatest challenges and advantages of running your business in a city like PE?
Our catchment area is based in a challenging environment, so maintaining the demographical preferences, delivering a great product and maintaining our relationships have been an interesting challenge.
The advantage has been that we live in a beautiful city with immense potential and exponential growth for job opportunities and increased revenue in the city and the Eastern Cape province.
What do you think are the three key traits of a successful entrepreneur?
Adaptability, persistence and work ethic are key.